William Thien

A Country and Its Priorities

Posted on: August 1, 2015

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of those traffic cameras up at the top, almost out of sight that is, of streetlights and poles and things spanning intersections where I reside.

I live at the edge of the edge of town, you could say. Across the river the cornfields start, and I was kind of surprised to see all of them cameras staring down at me, leering at me while I waited at the light. Now, while I drive along I take notice of those cameras. No doubt the cameras were paid for with one of those fancy grants from The Department of Homeland Security, that’s DHS if you are chewing on a piece of grass right now, to prevent the spread of terrorism throughout the cornfields of America.

And while I was driving along it occurred to my city born hayseed self that there is probably someone sitting behind all of them cameras watching what was going on, watching me probably, too. Sometimes I get the feeling they are playing with the streetlights themselves, switching them to red and green. Maybe because of my rhetoric, maybe they are even keeping a file on me sitting there in my car at the streetlight. The file must be pretty boring because I mostly wear the same type of clothes all the time, practilly like I’m one of them people that don’t use ‘lectricity or something, and do about the same things most of the time. But there is one thing for sure I do that I know they don’t like. This.

So I got to thinking about how much them cameras cost and how much it cost to put in them special poles they are on and how much it costs to put people behind them and the maintenance costs and the cost to repair them when the guy in the snowplow drives into one of the poles in the winter clearing the roads and knocks a camera off of the pole and I thought, wow, that must cost of lot of money honey, a whole lot of money. I got my foot up on the rocking chair on the porch right now while I tell you this for ‘mfasis.

Now I’m not so sure I have a problem with all of this sir valence but there isn’t anything that I can think of around here that requires all of it, a new strip mall, some of those big box retailers opening up, but there ain’t no international security installation or nothing, just a bunch of betties shopping and minivans and pickup trucks here and there. But it’s really kind of like being in the sticks I have to say. I know where you think I’m going with this. You think Imma gonna ask the question, “why are you wasting all of this money sir valing a bunch of cornfields?” Well you are wrong, ladies and gentlemen. Totally wrong.

That’s not my problem with the cameras. My problem is this. Not ten yards after I recognized the first camera was exactly what it was, a sir valence camera, I heard a loud THUNK! on the right front end of my car and felt the car rock. Then again in the rear right side of the car and it rocked once again. I had just driven through a massive pot hole in the road that I didn’t see and could not have avoided because I was surrounded by cars leaving the strip mall so I couldn’t swurve if I tried.

Last year I spent several hundred dollars having work done on the suspension of my car, the same the previous year on the steering. In fact, over the time I’ve had the car I’m now driving I’ve spent thousands of dollars having work done to my car that was probably the result of holes in the road, pot holes, giant cracks, you name it, rattling my car to pieces.

So, ladies and gentlemen, my question is about priorities. Why are we spending so much money on all of this sir valence in the sticks when you need a military vehicle with a military suspenchant to drive on the roads?

If you ask me, there is too much surveillance in this state which is rapidly becoming “A Police State,” (out of the vernacular: you knew the police state was coming and you knew the cost of the generalized misdirection of funds away from what was truly necessary was coming, didn’t you?) and not enough getting the work done that needs to be done, such as fixing the holes in the roads, repairing the bridges, the infrastructure stuff, that type of thing.

This is one place where I think the country has its priorities mixed up. Now don’t blame me for sticking my neck out for the rest of you who ain’t got the gumption to do or say anything about what is going on. Just because you got a wife and kids don’t mean you ain’t got a pair anymore. Or maybe it does these days with the way women can bait ya and pick a fight wit’ ya and then scream bloody murder, throw some lies out there and next thing you know, yer divorced or worse, locked up and you lost all your stuff. Or maybe you are just gutless natural like. There’s a lot of them around these days. Calls ’em, pacifists or something. And ladies, I don’t hear you saying nothing, either. I mean I hear ya talking to me in public places, but nobody will say anything public like this here. What’s everybody worried about? Have they got you all that afeared?

If you ask me, the Department of Homeland Security would have better spent the money to fix the roads and not demoralize the country by taxing us to protect us and the corn and beans and then making us pay to fix our cars as well. It’s like getting billed twice for nothin! acourse it ain’t really nothin, it’s just not really as much of what we really need in my unsurfisticated opine.

Cuz if you ask me, protecting the pocketbooks of ALL Americans from having to pay for unnecessary repairs to their vehicles is the real priority rather than protecting them there cornfields from terrorists.

But then who am I? I’m just some city born hayseed who never left his own town and ain’t even been around the world enough to know what’s going on in these here parts.

That’s right. I got my eye on you, too.

Note: By the term “Police State,” I do not mean “police” personnel in general. What I am referring to is the surveillance state within which we all reside. The police themselves are merely personnel doing their jobs. The surveillance or police state is a condition of liberty or lack thereof.

Copyright © William Thien 2015

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2 Responses to "A Country and Its Priorities"

there’s been an interesting shift in law enforcement or, more specifically, criminal investigations in recent decades; since the public infrastructre hi-tech era, which has been progressing steadily since the early-to-mid ’80s, there has been a near-total grid-like completing of surveillance of american public spaces, sourced by both private and public expenditures, e.g., private businesses with installed video cameras and public street-light cams along the lines of what you mention in your post, etc.
Anyhow, nowadays, if you commit a crime significant enough to warrant intense investigation, your fate is often decided by the informal video record; it’s virtually impossible nowadays to commit a crime that involves the use of a automobile in an urban setting; if you drive more than a mile or even less, sometimes much less, and state under questioning the route you took, there are likely a few to several video surveillance systems, public and private, that can be checked to vouchproof your claims….. for reasons that are obvious, it’s not widely reported, but basically anybody who says they didn’t commit some act because they were driving from point A to point B at so-and-so a time, can have that claim proved to the second; conversely, if they claim they DIDN’T drive somewhere in the vicinity of some crime, there are likely several cameras that can pinpoint to the block whether or not your personal vehicle was in the area. in other words: much of criminal investigation nowadays involves the rotue, clerk-like checking of surveillance tape —– the new public record! —— to see if a alibi is as lie or not.

Obiviously, this is nice in terms of capturing an at-large, say, serial killer, child molester or some other kind of predatory felon.

But do we really want this sort of Big Brotheresque technique used to finger more personal indulgent misdemeanor offenders, e.g., drug users, traffic scofflaws, etc.? I’d think not.

Of course. My point is that I think we should be taking care of infrastructure first and then when everything works as it should, we should start spending the funds on surveillance. All of the surveillance in the world does me no good if the roads are so impassable that it ruins my car or puts me in the poorhouse paying for upkeep of my car, for example. At one point the TSA was frisking elderly American women (don’t know if they still are) and little children getting on planes which if you ask me, is a significant waste of resources. The surveillance state is out of hand.

Pot holes were so bad in the city that at one point a reporter put a number of large objects including a basketball into one hole that were barely visible on the camera. People were getting flat tires and breaking wheels on many holes and some pot holes were even causing accidents. And it happens out here in the sticks as well. Thanks for commenting.

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